Lewis and Clark….Missouri to Colorado

Day 2….
Missouri
yippee – we just crossed the Mississippi – and I kept staring at that big ARCH – which represents the GATEWAY to the WEST. I stared at it so long as I was driving, that I accidentally got off I-70, and magically appeared at a parking lot RIGHT next to the ARCH. How lucky is that?

The sign at the parking lot nearest the Arch – was for a Church. The sign said that it was for churchgoers only, and that you had to pray to park. Hmmm….I can do this. I’m gonna pray that no churchgoer prevents me from parking here so that we can capture a HOOLA moment in from of the big ARCH. It worked.

Paddy & I both got some hoop action at the “Gateway”.

We raced over to the Arch – erected adjacent to the Mississippi, and HOOPED…in the State of Missouri. It was still cold and very windy, so we didn’t get a chance to be leisurely.

We’re officially WEST now!

Selected an IHOP for breakfast. This was our first sit-down meal since Maryland. My butt was getting re-shaped from all of the car travels…and we were only half-way to our Colorado destination.
Notable sights in Missouri: St. Louis is the only big city you’ll pass thru, after that it is all farmland. Missouri has a curious route labeling system. They do not use route numbers, they use letters. The ads on the billboards are for farm equipment, western wear, cowboy boots, and RV’s.

Missouri is a BIG state…250 long miles wide…the muscles in my core have officially atrophied

KANSAS

On the western edge of Missouri…is Kansas City. Kansas City MISSOURI that is. And, once you cross the MISSOURI river – you’re lookin at Kansas City KANSAS. Missouri – if you can’t come up with unique names for your cities…the poor US Postal Service will remain eternally confused.

After ONE BIG state of Missouri – we are finally in Kansas. The joy I felt was short lived…as I noticed the TOTAL number of miles we had to make to cross Kansas. 420 miles. Come’on now?
Even at 70MPH…that is a full speed pedal to the medal 6 hour drive with NO stops.
We’re trying not to look at the mileage markers

Notable sights in Kansas: There were so many route signs to follow – it was hard to notice Kansas City AND pay attention to trying to stay on I-70. There is NO WELCOME CENTER or Tourist Info stuff along I-70 in Kansas. Yo – what happened to a simple “Hello”?

I was getting a bit stressed about hooping in front of your everyday McDonalds…but Paddy found a little historical marker…so that would have to SUFFICE for my Kansas hooping experience.

No snow in Kansas, but the winds were pretty stiff. The only city we went thru after Kansas City…was Topeka. “Topeka” – it sure has a nice native american sound, eh?

After Topeka, get ready for endless FLAT land…dusty burnt to a crisp land. Then, out of nowwhere – some bumps occurred. This is called Flint Hills – and was kindof cool. Like a miniature version of the Badlands.

Coming from the east coast – with 24/7 bumper-2-bumper traffic…I have to admit, driving is a “joy” in Kansas. We practically had the road to ourselves. Said hello and goodbye to Salina…(the midpoint of Kansas) and to help break of the monotony,

I’m thinking that Kansas should be divided into 2 states…..right at Salina….then you could have a Salina, EAST KANSAS….and Salina, WEST KANSAS to keep with the theme of St. Louis, and Kansas City. Whatddaya think?

Just 20 miles west of Salina is the most enormous wind farm I had ever seen. The wind farms were visible for at least another 20 miles. How do I know these distances? You can see objects 10-15 miles away in Kansas. There are no mountains, so anything that stands up above 5 feet – can be seen from great distances.

Strangely, only half of the turbines were spinning. Kind of odd considering that the wind was nearly blowing our jeep off of the road. Perhaps there is an “ON” switch somewhere?

From a driving perspective, the wind farm proved to be a wonderful distraction from watching the mile markers…

Occasionally, there was a sign for gas…and every 50+ miles a no-frills rest stop. The rest stops resembled a small barn, with fences to pony up to. No vending machines, no luxuries here — you are on your own in Kansas.

It appears there is OIL in western Kansas. Mile after mile of miniature oil rigs appear in the farmland. Must be a backup plan in case there is a bad crop year.
Despite chasing the setting sun …we are still in Kansas.

Twilight in Kansas lasts for at least an hour after the sun sets…There is nothing flatter than the plains of Kansas.

At night, the stars are HUGE and beautiful – you don’t see them like this along the eastern seaboard. I wanted to spend more time staring at the stars, but it proved to be a distraction from driving – so we opted to stay on the road.

We ran out of juice, and pulled over into an “oasis” stop (where a bunch of hotels and gas stations appear after miles and miles of no humans), to spend the nite in Goodland KANSAS (elevation 3600′)…17 miles shy of the Colorado border.

The Comfort Inn serves biscuits and gravy for breakfast… I’ll pass!

Day 3

COLORADO!
yipp-i-a. That’s “Prarie speak” for YEAH – WE’RE FINALLY IN COLORADO! but wait…it still looks like Kansas?

We stopped at the Colorado welcome center. Yes, we get WELCOMED into Colorado. It was very lovely – a “western” touch to the decor.

It was the best weather we’ve had since Silver Spring MD. Mid-40’s, no winds. A perfect setting for my now 9-STATES-AND-COUNTING Hoopmania. We found the perfect backdrop…and I hooped in Colorado. I think my core muscles are either completely atrophied from the long drive….or not functioning in higher altitudes. We’re over 4000′ elevation…and the hoop kept wanting to drop to the ground. It took a few practice moments to get my rhythm back. whew!

Notable sights in Colorado: the terrain morphs from the plains of Kansas…to a more “Prarie” feel in Colorado. Still relatively flat for the first 150 miles…but the terrain gradually begins to roll. And suddenly, amazing mountain peaks appear mega miles off in the distance. The peaks get larger and larger – and form this wonderful backdrop to the city of Denver

Denver CO. Paddy has been in the car too long. We needed to find him some extra bold, thick-as-molasses coffee sludge. Stay tuned.

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